Now that all of the Jello Shots have been served and tallied at Rocco’s in Omaha and the LSU Tigers won that challenge and the College World Series let’s talk about the 2023 MLB Draft. We saw a lot of talent on the field in Omaha and throughout the college baseball season. However, there are plenty of talented players throughout the draft board between the college and high school ranks. For those of us in keeper and dynasty leagues for fantasy baseball the 2023 MLB Draft carries a lot of weight for us going forward. We’re just two weeks away from having an updated MLB Prospect Rankings and updated MLB Farm System Rankings. We all know who the top few picks are likely to be, and some of the best among the college and high school baseball ranks, but how about certain positions. This week we’ll be looking at the best at certain positions and categories to target in your fantasy baseball dynasty league drafts.
In the last few Prospect Reports, I’ve already written up Paul Skenes, Dylan Crews, Wyatt Langford, Chase Dollander, Rhett Lowder, Kyle Teel, Maui Ahuna, Brock Wilken, Walker Jenkins, Max Clark, and Jacob Wilson so we won’t be spending a ton of time on them in this week’s piece but you can read about them here:
Best 2023 MLB Draft Prospect Outside The Top-5 Picks
Aidan Miller — J.W. Mitchell High School (FL)
This pick might be a bit of a surprise but given I’m not taking one of the guys above I’ve already analyzed, Miller is a great option. The 6’2”, 210 lbs. third baseman has all the tools one could want from a hot corner bat. He’s got at least an average Hit tool to go with plus-Power and average Run tools. The defense is there in spades too. Sometimes prep hitters show glimpses of power but have trouble getting to it in games; that’s not the case for Miller. There is still more maturing to do with his frame that likely costs him a tad in speed, but defensively he’ll stick at third long-term with his plus-footwork and hands. Don’t be shocked to see him go as early as 8th overall to Kansas City or anywhere through the middle of the first round. His older brother was drafted by Cincinnati in 2020.
Best Left Handed Pitcher in 2023 MLB Draft
Thomas White — Phillips Academy (MA)
The 2023 MLB Draft is a tough spot for lefty pitchers. It’s not a deep class and the pre-season top LHP, in most rankings, Hunter Owen, comes in injured. It’s not like Thomas White isn’t good though, with the upside we love to see from a prep arm. White, a 6’5” southpaw, has a three-pitch mix that features two plus-pitches and a third burgeoning on above-average. The fastball, unlike most lefties, has upper-90s velocity and has nice run and life. The curveball is a second plus pitch in the arsenal sitting in the upper-70s with great diving action. The changeup is still coming around and will be developed more in the pros as he’ll need three pitches but it’s a great starting point right now. The only question remaining about White is will a team be able to sign him over his Vanderbilt commitment.
Best High School Pitcher in 2023 MLB Draft
Nobel Meyer — Jesuit High School (OR)
Frontline starter in the making is how most view Nobel Meyer, including me. The 18-year-old righty, standing at 6’5”, uses his frame to hit triple-digits more and more often on his two-seam fastball. Needless to say that pitch is the best in his arsenal and a plus offering as it’s not just a straight pitch; it has run too. A power slider is the second pitch in the repertoire and is arguably just as good as the fastball and has the makings of a true “out” pitch. Meyer hasn’t needed to use the average changeup that much in the prep ranks in Oregon but there’s no doubt it has the makings of at least an above-average pitch. The frame, easy delivery, stuff, and feel for throwing strikes, make him a no-doubter as the first prep arm to come off the board potentially as early as 3rd overall if Detroit likes him more than Wyatt Langford.
Best Catcher in 2023 MLB Draft
Blake Mitchell — Sinton High School (TX)
I’ve already talked about Kyle Teel, out of UVA, as my favorite catcher in the draft, but Mitchell, isn’t far behind. The lefty-hitting, righty-throwing backstop has a bevy of tools at his discretion to effect a game. The above-average Hit, Power, and Fielding tools speak to that but that neglects the double-plus, 70-grade, Arm tool. The only skill he doesn’t really possess is speed — a 35-grade or well-below-average tool — but hey, he’s a catcher so we don’t really expect that. Mitchell’s power plays well to all fields and isn’t just a pull-side trait but that being said, there is some swing-and-miss to his approach. The good news for him is that the defensive ability and ability to throw out would-be base-stealers will give him the time and plate appearances to refine his approach and smooth out his left-handed stroke. Don’t be surprised if Mitchell goes off the board before Teel if they favor a younger catcher with more pop and slightly more projection.
Best Shortstop in 2023 MLB Draft
Colin Houck — Parkview High School (GA)
Shortstop is arguably the deepest position for fantasy baseball in the majors and the minors but we’re always looking for the next one coming. I previously wrote up Jacob Wilson and Colin Houck is neck-and-neck with Wilson for best shortstop prospect in the draft. The Georgia state player of the year hails from the same high school that produced Matt Olson and Houck figures to be the next MLB player out of Parkview. The righty-hitting shortstop has plus-bat-speed that generates burgeoning plus-Power to go along with an above-average Hit tool. Defensively there is little concern about him having to move off of short which certainly helps the profile as a plus-offensive middle infielder with projection left. Houck’s only concern is his propensity to chase pitches from time-to-time that hopefully goes away the more baseball development he gets.
Best First Baseman in 2023 MLB Draft
Ralphy Velazquez — Huntington Beach (CA)
As we all know, first base is a very shallow position in the majors for fantasy baseball managers and it doesn’t get much better when you look at MLB farm systems. Ralphy Valazquez, who technically also counts as a catcher, could help that shallowness sooner rather than later. Velazquez is a left-handed hitting, righty-fielding 18-year-old who’s 6’3” and 215 pounds. That’s a physical specimen for first base who gives a big target for other infielders to hit. Speaking of hitting, his Hit tool is above-average and the raw power is as good as any prep hitter in the top part of the 2023 MLB Draft class. Velazquez drives balls to all fields well and doesn’t get caught pulling the ball too much. He doesn’t have the best speed but it’s enough to snag a few bags a year even at the MLB level. Whether he gets taken as a catcher and transitioned to first base or just drafted at first to start is a question but ultimately his defensive him is like not behind the dish as the frame and bat suggest first baseman.
Best Second Baseman in 2023 MLB Draft
Kevin McGonigle — Monsignor Bonner (PA)
To Kevin McGonigle, “The Man” was Chase Utley both in nickname and fandom. Don’t be surprised though if McGonigle gets his own nickname down the road, if everything pans out. What would that nickname be? How Professor McGonigle, much like Professor McGonagall from Harry Potter. He has the smarts to back that up too, at least in baseball IQ which helps his skills play up too. What are those skills? How about a 60-grade Hit tool, 50-grade Power, 50-55-grade Speed, and above-average Fielding ability. At 5’10” and 187 lbs. it’s unlikely we’ll see more over-the-fence power from him but there is plenty of extra-base hit ability and on-base skill. McGonigle should come off the board later in the first round or Competitive Balance Round A.
Best First Round Sleeper in 2023 MLB Draft
Travis Sykora — RHP Round Rock High School (TX)
Future ace alert! At 6’6” and 232 lbs. as a 19-year-old he already has the frame to be imposing and durable on the mound. What about the stuff though? Sykora has perhaps the best fastball in the draft behind Paul Skenes and pairs it with a plus Splitter and above-average Slider. The velocity, movement, life, and spin are all what you’d expect out of a future ace caliber arm and the easy and repeatability of the delivery are as well. The only thing stopping him, and keeping him lower in rankings, for most, than his stuff suggests, is his commitment to Texas and what it might take to buy him out of that commitment. If you’re looking for a future ace that no one is talking about it’s Sykora and he’s quickly becoming one of my favorite arms overall in the draft.
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- 2023 Fantasy Baseball Top 400 Prospect Rankings: Elly De La Cruz Tops the Updated Rankings
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- Previous Fantasy Baseball MLB Prospect Reports
- 2023 Fantasy Baseball Player Rankings
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